World number three Mark Selby outclassed seven-time winner Stephen Hendry to cruise in to the last-eight of the Snooker World Championship. The England cueist, who said that he is at the peak of his form, destroyed the Scot 13-4 in a one-sided encounter.
Meanwhile, Hendry, who has stated that he is considering retirement, praised his opponent. “Every time he got in, he looked really good and I can’t remember him getting out of position,” said Hendry.
“He is playing the best snooker of anyone here at the moment, no doubt about it.”
Selby hit a record six century breaks at The Crucible in a 25-frame match and destroyed the former champion. After opening the match with a break of 125 and making his intentions clear, Selby faced tough resistance as Hendry came up with a break of 114 himself. But there was no looking back for Selby from that point on as he won the next seven frames including breaks of 108, 98, 129, 51 and 100 to take a 8-1 lead.
Hendry tried to fight and took the next frame but Selby regained control and though lost another two games on his way to the win, the match always looked to in the Englishman’s control.
“I don’t think I did much wrong, I played great,” said Selby, who beat Hendry at the same stage last year as well.
“I’m delighted to not only get through but also with the way I played against someone of that class makes it that extra bit special.
“I didn’t realise I had broken the record until one of the media guys told me after the second session but it’s a great record to beat.
Higgins fends off McLeod challenge
Meanwhile, John Higgins saw off the challenger from England’s Rory McLeod to move to the next round. The Scot, who won the UK Championship and the Welsh Open this season, prevailed 13-7 to seal the quarter-final berth.
The three-time champion took a 10-5 lead into the final session and rattled in an 80-break on his way to winning the first two frames.
McLeod staged a comeback to pull the score to 12-7 going into the mid-session interval and looked set to take the next frame after the break. A poor safety allowed Higgins back in and the world number one, who had performed below par, took the frame and sealed the match.
“I am definitely going to have to improve and be on top of my game for my next match,” said Higgins. “It was hard work. I am going to have to come back and practise and improve and be on top of my game for my next match, whoever I am playing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2011.
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